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Posts Tagged ‘Nebraska’
January 8th, 2013 at 2:06 pm
Hagel Should Get the Opportunity to Go Through a Tough Confirmation Process

To start, I’ll take as a compliment Quin’s assertion that “Ashton seems to accept with some equanimity the idea that Chuck Hagel will be confirmed as Secretary of Defense” since equanimity is a virtue I’m trying to achieve.

That said, I don’t think there’s a Republican United States Senator willing to take Quin’s suggestion and put a permanent hold on Hagel’s nomination.

It’s one thing for Ted Cruz (R-TX) to make waves on cable television by (rightly) blasting the Obama Administration over Hagel, the fiscal cliff, and gun control, but it is quite another for Cruz to use his senatorial prerogative of “holding” up the President’s nomination for one of the top three Cabinet posts (State and Treasury being the other two); especially since Cruz is in his first full week as a Senator.

Moreover, from the tone of opposition coming from other top Republicans like John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and others, I don’t get the sense defeating the Hagel nomination through an obscure “hold” is the proverbial hill upon which any Republican Senator wants to die this session.

Instead, I think Hagel will go through the confirmation process with the kind of probing scrutiny Supreme Court justices get.  It may very well be that, as Quin writes, “The man [Hagel], appears to many to be an anti-Semite.  Opponents make quite a case that he should never set foot in the top office at the Pentagon.”

Well, let Senate Republicans, not just political pundits, make that case on the record.

In the confirmation hearings, during floor debate, and in an actual speaking filibuster if it comes to that, Senate Republicans will have many instances to make precisely the case Quin alludes to, and any other substantive policy criticisms about Hagel they think will defeat his confirmation.  But let’s have the argument in public, through the normal process of a presidential nomination.

U.S. Senators like to think they work within “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”  Let them prove it with a robust examination of Chuck Hagel’s fitness to be the next Secretary of Defense.

May 15th, 2012 at 1:41 pm
GOP Establishment About to Take Another Hit in Nebraska?
Posted by Troy Senik Print

As the 2012 election cycle has progressed, one of the growing memes on the left has been that the Tea Party has lost a lot of the anti-establishment momentum it had in 2010, when it was responsible for electing U.S. Senators like Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, and Florida’s Marco Rubio. The pundits have been a little quick on the trigger finger.

Last week, 35-year Senate veteran Richard Lugar went down to defeat in Indiana at the hands of the Tea Party candidate, State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, a race that we chronicled at length here at CFIF. Today, voters heading to the polls in Nebraska may deliver a similar shock to the GOP establishment.

The establishment choice, state Attorney General Jon Bruning, has been under fire for exactly the kind of crony capitalism that has come to define Tea Party distaste for business as usual. It was long thought that State Treasurer Don Stenberg — who enjoyed the support of Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund, FreedomWorks, and the Club for Growth — would be the conservative alternative to Bruning. But in recent days, Bruning’s numbers are falling without Stenberg’s rising proportionately.

The reason is a third candidate, State Senator Deb Fischer, who has recently emerged from relative obscurity thanks to endorsements from Sarah Palin and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry. According to recent polling, there’s a very real possibility of Fischer pulling off an upset of epic proportions and walking away with the nomination. And while Stenberg’s supporters aren’t happy to see their man failing to close, they’re already suggesting that Fischer would be an acceptable alternative to Bruning and the business as usual he represents.

We’ll have to watch the polls tonight to see how this thing resolves, but one thing’s for sure: even the worst-case scenario for Tea Partiers (a narrow win by Bruning) would send a powerful message to the GOP establishment in Washington: the Tea Party is here to stay.

March 7th, 2012 at 12:39 pm
Dems Can’t Seem to Find Salvation in Nebraska
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Last week, I posted about how the defection-masquerading-as-retirement of Maine’s liberal Republican Senator Olympia Snowe set back the GOP’s hopes for winning back the Senate by putting an open seat in a deep-blue state into play for this fall’s elections. The results of some new polling in another contest halfway across the nation, however, should tamp down some of Democrats’ more enthusiastic expectations for Election Day.

Ever since the Senate’s most conservative Democrat (a designation akin to being the MVP of a Pygmy basketball league), Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, announced just after Christmas that he would be retiring with the end of his term this year, the party has been distraught. Nelson’s situation is almost a mirror image of Snowe’s. Considered an ideological apostate, he is little loved by his party’s base. His personal popularity, however, has kept safe a seat that would otherwise fall easily into the opposition’s hands (Nebraska is just as safely Republican as Maine is Democratic).

Democrats thought they had cut the Gordian Knot by recruiting former Senator Bob Kerrey back from his new stomping grounds in New York City (after quite a bit of hemming and hawing) to contend for the open seat, with many analysts believing (quite plausibly, I might add) that Kerrey was the only Democrat with the potential to hold the seat.

According to some new polling from Rasmussen, however, the dream seems to have been premature. The results show Kerrey (who is a known commodity in Cornhusker State politics, having spent four years as Governor and 12 years as a U.S. Senator) trailing the Republican front-runner, Attorney General Jon Bruning, by 22 points. State Treasurer Don Stenberg, who has earned the endorsement of Senator Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund, is up 18 on Kerrey. Thus far, it looks like the Democrats’ hopes that a single transformative figure could lead them to the promised land were quixotic. If only there were an example from recent history that could have warned them of that possibility …